The Borrowdale Scrambler

Three Classic summits by routes off the beaten track

Borrowdale valley is arguably the most idyllic of the Lake District, with its woodlands, wildlife, a number of beautiful tiny hamlets, and the River Derwent gently flowing into Derwent Water. This adventure starts from Seathwaite, from where we aim to ascend the summits of Base Brown, Green Gable, Great Gable, and then finally Great End, avoiding the main paths as much a possible by using a number of simple scrambling routes through the day.

Scrambling as an activity sits between mountain walking and rock climbing. It involves ascending up rocky terrain which requires the use of hands as well as feet. This can range from terrain involving simple short rocky steps requiring nothing more than your normal walking gear, to using harnesses ropes and a selection of climbing equipment at its extreme. The beauty of scrambling is that it opens up a huge range of new and exciting ways to travel through the mountains on the way to summit tops, avoiding the busier main footpaths. 

We use a number of simple scrambling routes thought the day to create our adventure, giving a technical and more interesting way to the top, but still achievable by anyone with some hill walking experience who are confident on their feet, in good physical condition, with a head for heights.

We recommend that in the lead-up to this challenge, participants work on building up their stamina with weekly cardio-vascular exercise of a minimum of 1 hour per day, 5 days per week to build up their calf + quad muscles. 


Stage 1 - Sourmilk Gill

From Seathwaite, the most southerly point in the valley accessible by road, we only have a short walk through a farm, and across to the west side of the Seathwaite valley, to the bottom of Sourmilk Gill. We follow its course as much as possible, which involves boulder hopping, easy angled slabs, traversing pools, and optional short steeper sections by the side of waterfalls, choosing a line of difficulty to suit the mood. The Gill eventually reaches the floor of the Gillercomb corrie, where we now leave it behind and continue the climb up to Base Brown.
210m of scrambling

Stage 2 - Base Brown, Green Gable and Great Gable

From leaving Sourmilk Gill, we ascend steeply up the north-east nose of Base Brown to reach its summit. It is now easier going as we traverse the broad ridge and gentler ascent to the summit of Green Gable, with fantastic views of the formidable Gable Crag and surrounding mountains. With a short descent into windy gap its time to start climbing steeply again to Great Gable. After a decent south-east we find ourselves at the tranquil Styhead Tarn.

Stage 3 - Great End via Skew Gill

Heading north for a short distance along the corridor route, we come to the bottom of Skew Gill. A deep ravine carving its way up the mountain side, which can sometimes have a small amount of water running down it. Aiming to keep our feet dry, we climb up the ravine until it brings us out onto the north-west nose of Great End. We continue scrambling up broken rocks to reach the summit.
400m of scrambling.

Stage 4 - Descent

From our hard earned and final summit of the day, we now start to descend using the paths. Firstly to Esk Hause, then following down the side of Ruddy and Grains Gill’s, until finally reaching Seathwaite.
Total distance 12km, Total Ascent 1296m, Scrambling Ascent 610m, Total Descent 1296m, Target Time: 7hrs

Key Information

  • Maximum ratio: 1 instructor to 6 scramblers
  • Helmets will be used throughout the day
  • Participants must be fit and well, have a good level of hill fitness and head for heights.
  • Bring you own normal hill walking equipment, food and water for the day
  • Everyone MUST be wearing appropriate walking BOOTS (trainers/approach shoes are not adequate)
  • The ascent of Sourmilk Gill can sometimes be effected by high water levels after extreme weather. An alternative route may be used in such conditions

Package Includes

  • Days typically consist of around 7-8 hours in the mountains with an instructor
  • Climbing helmet
  • Accommodation for two nights / optional
  • Breakfasts and packed lunch / optional
  • Information about the surrounding areas plus second to none service with passionate staff

Duration: 1 Day

Activities: Walking and Scrambling

Suitable for: Private or corporate groups

Comments: A mixed bag of scrambling grades from beginner to intermediate level and suitable for persons of average fitness with a good head for heights.

Prices from: £100

Call: 017687 75337

Booking Enquiry

Package Prices


From £165

Hostel – bed & breakfast + packed lunch
15% off Cotswold voucher
Climbing helmet
Price is per person

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From £100

Qualified mountain guide
15% off Cotswold voucher
Climbing helmet
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From £195

Guest House – bed & breakfast + packed lunch
15% off Cotswold voucher
Climbing helmet
Price is per person

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